Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Significance of Halloween, and Easter

Halloween and Easter hold great significance for me.  One is the first, the other is the last.  Usually.  No, I'm not talking about religion.  I'm talking gardening.

About the time I started purchasing my own clothes, I realized that Easter was the last.  I would buy a cute little sleeveless number, and almost every Easter the same thing happened.  A final cold front.  I would end up shivering in my sleeveless dress.  It didn't take too many years for me to realize I needed to buy a dress that had a sweater or jacket with it just in case.

As a gardener, that still sticks in my mind.  As tempting as it always is to start planting in the spring, I try to wait until after Easter, because I know we will usually have a cold front some time around that date.

Halloween is the first.  You guessed it.  It's usually the first cold front of the year around here.  No matter what costume I had picked out for Halloween, I tried to ignore the 80 degree days that lingered on as though summer would never end.  Because on Halloween night, I was usually shivering again, until I learned to be prepared.  

As a gardener, learning to be prepared for the first cold front means getting the bed mulched, saying goodbye to the tender plants, and protecting the vegetable plants.  All of which I have not completed.  Oops!  I need to get prepared!

For Halloween, being prepared eventually became simple.  I had two favorite costumes.  One was a nun costume.  Cheaply made, it was loose enough to be able to pile on the layers underneath.  Plus it was versatile.  A quick change of head dress, and a few minor accessory changes, and I could change from a nun to a witch.  The second favorite costume was a white lab coat, picked up for $3.  A bit of gel in my hair transformed me into a mad scientist.  But the white lab coat wasn't too versatile, and it eventually became "paint clothes". 

I no longer have a need to dress up on Halloween.  We live far enough out that we don't get any trick-or-treaters.  But with my DIY spirit, I am always in need of "paint clothes", and there is always at least one outfit in my closet with that purpose.  Of course, I have many (many!) more "gardening clothes"!

So, now you know the significance of Halloween and Easter.  At least here, Easter is (usually) the last, and Halloween is (usually) the first.  As far as cold fronts go.  

My sisters live where the first cold front shows up around Labor Day.  Brrrrr!!!  What about you?  When will you expect your first cold front?


  1. I love the Roses you have pictured. The foliage looks great on all of them too.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Enjoyable post. We have a similar climate in central NC, but I never had pinpointed Easter and Halloween as the bookends for cold fronts. Our first major cold front is expected tomorrow! Brrr ... though I'm looking forward to sitting in front of a fire!

  3. Love your blog. Just heard about it from Marcia.
    Living in the Adirondack Mountains of NE New York I guess I would fall into the same category as your sister. Last would be Memorial Day if we are lucky and first would be Labor Day again if we are lucky. However Halloween is also a first here many years as it is today, the first snow on the ground. It is going to be a long winter.

  4. Enjoy your lovely images. It's been cold these days. It has been raining daily. The temp is about 25C outside. I guess this is considered hot for you. :)

  5. How I envy your roses (in good way, of course). They are beautiful!

  6. In Pennsylvania, it has been cold, but no frost yet. I am currently on an island in Maine that is technically in the same zone but far ahead of PA in cold. They haven't had a hard frost, but tonight it is supposed to go down to 30 degrees and snow--brrr!!!

  7. Cher - With the cooler weather, and a bit of rain, some are just starting to show some signs of blackspot. But most are still looking good. Every year is different on its degree. I don't spray, so I live with it.

    Sheila - A fire sounds so nice and cozy. And romantic. Curling up with a good (gardening) book next to it sounds divine.

    wilderness - Welcome. I think that's about right for my sister's weather, too. Last cold front around Memorial Day. I think they're getting snow this weekend, too! Brrrr!

    One - At 25C, that's around 77F. I consider that nice and comfortable. I think I would really like your weather. I don't like the cold at all! Around 60F, or 15C, is the coldest I really like it!

    garden at nina place - Oh, thank you. I think they are the showiest of all the flowers in my garden.

    carolyn - Funny how the same zones can really be quite different! I'm glad we rarely get snow. When we do, it's a novelty, and only lasts one day. I can usually handle that. Snow all the time - that I don't think I'd really like. Although I do think gardens in snow are beautiful.

  8. Holley, growing up in Denver, the weather was really variable--80F one day and 40F the next. Our firsts and lasts were earlier and later than yours, but then we'd have this gorgeous stretch of weather in between and still get lulled into thinking that some floating, wispy princess costume and/or Easter dress was a good idea. And then we'd always have to wear our heavy coats over them in the snow.

    You never know what life lessons will come in handy in the garden, do you?

  9. May next year!! lots of summer for me to look forward to :)
    Holley, I love your style - that third photo with the pot and rose tumbling out of it ... Stunning! I have to get me some pots ....

  10. Stacy - I loved your comment. I could imagine the floating, wispy princess costume, only then to have it stuck under a heavy coat! In snow, no less! I think somehow all lessons are connected to the garden.

    GardeningBlog - haha You are just starting the glory days. I'm not very good with pots, but these are very large, so they can go a few days without watering.

  11. HG, we are on a very similar cold/frost schedule as what you are describing. We haven't had that frost yet in my little corner, but most of the Portland metro area has just this week. I just cleaned out the veggie gardens and have been tidying my flower beds. Next week, it will be time to apply my first prune of the roses.

  12. Holley we have a range of first and last dates (frost, freeze or snow take your pick). Our first frost is usually anywhere from Columbus Day to Halloween and usually our first freeze as well. Happened last night; our first freeze and snow although not significant snow. Our last frost or snow is usually anywhere from Mother's Day to Memorial Day. Fun to plant veggies in May and have inches of snow on them.

  13. Jenni - I am dreading the first frost here. I know it will be soon, and I'm not ready! I not ready mentally, nor have I completed my chores. You sound like you are very well ahead of me, and much more prepared!

    Donna - That sounds tricky. But, I suppose, the weather is never predictable. I get itchy to plant things in February. Sometimes that is the right decision, but usually I'll get burned. (I mean frozen!) It's those warm days in between that lull one into a false sense of security.

  14. Holley, how could I miss this post? The rose photos in it are absolutely gorgeous! Please don't tell me your roses are not blooming like this right now, and that the photos are from the spring. Otherwise I don't need a Halloween costume anymore, because I am green like an alien from Mars with envy already :-)!
    Your post made me recognize again that we don't have such a thing like real cold fronts here in San Diego. It gets cool, but hardly ever cold or even freezes. I just have to protect my orchids one or two nights a year with cloth in case temperatures are getting really low if at all. Lucky me I guess!

  15. Christina - These are all photos within the past week, yes. The devastating heat we endured all summer has cooled down, and the roses are showing their gratefulness. We never know if the weather will ruin the fall flush, but this year it has been perfect. Almost as good as the spring flush, but not quite. I think living in a place like you, with no winter, must be glorious and a curse, too. No rest!

  16. I think we're having our first cold front right now :) And I totally relate to your story of shivering every year in a sleeveless dress on Easter!

    I love those beautiful light pink cupped roses in the first picture, by the way. What kind are they?

  17. Indie - Those are the Austin rose 'Heritage'. They are a pretty rose, aren't they? And they smell wonderful, too. Every time I walk by, I am met with a lovely fragrance in the air.

  18. Holley,
    I love, love, love your beautiful garden. Today I went to the Tyler rose garden (yours certainly rivals it) and I have never seen such beautiful roses. The hot summer must have been good for them, because they are certainly beautiful. You'll have to travel over to my blog and see them - probably more of the grands than of the roses, but they are there. :) Always enjoy your blog!

  19. Ava - Oh, I bet the Tyler Rose Gardens are just beautiful right now! I need to plan a trip to see them. I'll definitely head over to your blog to see the grands and the roses!

  20. Beautiful photos! Autumn blooms are the best in my garden. Looks like they endured the heat. That's what I love about roses, so resillient!

  21. redneckrosarian - I have been quite delighted with my autumn blooms this year. They are really rivaling spring's flush. I think the roses were anxious to put on a show after such a difficult spring!


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